Forever Interupted & After I do- TJR

Doing a little double post with 2 books from one of my favorite Authors, Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Although these are a bit older, they are still great reads!

Forever, Interrupted follows our main character Elsie as she navigates the world of loss. Her new husband is tragically killed in an accident, which leaves her life upside-down. The novel alternates between the past and present which turns out to be a lovely way to learn how their love story unfolds woven in with the story of the present day. Elsie never met her Mother-In-Law, so the story follows their relationship. I have to admit, I was waiting for a bit of a twist or for the Mother-In-Law to betray her, but this isn’t that kind of novel. Well written and beautifully touching on the different layers of grief, this novel is proof that “there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.”

I love quotes and there were many beautiful quotes woven into this novel: “Things happen in your life that you cant possibly imagine. But time goes on and time changes you and the times change and the next thing you know, you’re smack in the middle of a life you never saw coming.”

After I do take a different direction and follows two characters as they decide to take a one year trial separation after being together for ten years. Similarly written as the above novel, the story alternates between present day and the past story of the couple falling in love. Although the idea of spending one full year apart from your Husband and not speaking to each other at all for that year seems far fetched to me, it comes through genuine and realistic on the pages of this book. There are no villains in this story, it examines what it’s like to grow together in life and also to grow apart.  It’s part coming of age, part relationship, and part heartbreak. I loved the side story of Lauren’s family as they also navigated relationship and life changes. Her Grandmother is such a beautiful character.

Again, this book had some amazing heartfelt quotes that I just wanted to rip off the pages and save forever. Here are a few:

“Isn’t it nice…once you’ve outgrown the ideas of what life should be and you just enjoy what it is?”

“The sun rises the next day after mothers lose their babies, after men lose their wives, after countries lose wars. The sun will rise no matter what pain we encounter. No matter how much we believe the world to be over, the sun will rise. So you can’t go around assessing love by whether or not the sun rises.”

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

I downloaded The Banker’s Wife on my phone to read on a flight (pre-quarantine) ✈️ And I couldn’t put it down! Although I was initially annoyed at reading such small font from my phone screen, the story was so great, it didn’t bother me at all!

📖 Here’s the synopsis:

On an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar, and its wreckage is later uncovered in the Alps. Among the disappeared is Matthew Werner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind, including an encrypted laptop and a shady client list. As she begins a desperate search for answers, she determines that Matthew’s death was no accident, and that she is now in the crosshairs of his powerful enemies.

Add this to your next bookclub list!

Verity by Colleen Hoover

This book is a stark 180 degree turn away from what I’ve normally been reading. I was warned time and time again that although the novel was written excellently, it was extremely dark.

I would describe it more as disturbing than dark. I think you can read this novel with the understanding that it contains extremely disturbing content, but it is not overly dark- it is more of a mysterious story to solve that contains disturbing subject matter. Without spoiling anything, the disturbing subject matter is harm to children, so anyone that is going to feel triggered by that should not read this book.

Overall, I enjoyed the storyline, suspense, and ending – but didn’t love the book because I found the overall plotline a bit unrealistic.

Here is the blurb:

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

I recommend purchasing this book through Bookshop, which helps support Independent bookstores. Click here!

 

Red, White & Royal Blue

This book is super cute and overall a really fun read. I love that the author created an alternate political landscape for 2016/2020 as opposed to the reality of what is going on.

The story follows the son of the Female President of the United States, as she runs for re-election in 2020. The First son falls in love with the Prince of Wales and their romance is the subject of the story. The writing is smart and the story is light, yet touches on some heavy subjects. Overall, the book makes me feel hopeful and after reading it I felt lighter. Not because there aren’t a million things we need to overcome to make the world a better and equal place for all, but because I believe we live in a world full of people that can make change happen.

I would recommend Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston as it as a fun break from our actual political climate and for a charming love story.

Here is the full book description from Goodreads:

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

I really enjoyed this book and thought the writing was excellent! As far as the storyline, I felt it moved a little slow during the first half of the book and then the ending of the book sped to the finish line.

That being said, I felt like certain aspects of the plot were rushed while others were perfectly thought out. There is a twist, and although I found the twist to be pretty predictable- I still enjoyed the novel overall. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author!

Here is the description of Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart from Goodreads:

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Daisy Jones & The Six – TJR

I’m ashamed to say I just read this book and can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner. there were multiple times I had to re-read a line just to absorb how beautiful the words resonated with me. THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD QUOTES AND TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS NOVEL!

Daisy Jones and The Six is magical. I loved it and I seriously want to just read it all over again. It’s just such an insightful read on maturation, love, growing up, and growing into who you want to really be.

The novel follows the life of Daisy Jones as she climbs the ladder of fame in LA in the 70s. The story is written interview style between Daisy Jones and the band The Six. Like I said above, it’s magical. This story feels so, so real. It’s part coming of age, part love, part real life 70’s rock n roll. The song lyrics are such an amazing touch. I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s going on my “favorites” list! AND, it’s being made into an Amazon series! Please, please read the book before watching the series! 

Here are a few quotes from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid:

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse. I am the somebody.”

“It’s like some of us are chasing after our nightmares the way other people chase dreams.”

“Don’t count yourself out this early. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.

 

 

How to Walk Away & The Mother in Law

I picked up both of these books after reading RAVE reviews online.

I LOVED How to Walk Away! I fell in love with the story and loved the last chapter and ending. I felt the layered storyline gave it just enough without detracting from the main character and main storyline. 

The story follows our main character, Margaret, after a life changing accident that flips her world upside down. As Margaret navigates her recovery and tries to build a new version of normal, we see her find happiness and hope in places she never imagined. Realistic but not overall cheesy, the book had just the right mix of heartbreak, humor, and hope to keep the story going. The ending made me happy and was a refreshing different vibe from what else I’ve been reading lately. I can’t wait to read more Katherine Center books.

My favorite line from this book is: “More than anything, I know that you just have to choose to make the best of things. You get one life, and it only goes forward. And there really are all kinds of happy endings.”

And now, for our second book of this post:

I liked The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth, but didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would. The story had some good build up, but ultimately fell flat with a predictable ending and unresolved back story. Overall, it was pretty lukewarm and I never felt an urgency to discover what happened nor did I feel a particular love to any of the characters for me to grasp onto. I picked it up because it was being marketed as a Thriller and I kept seeing posts about how great it was. I would categorize it more as fiction with a mystery tied in.

Potential spoiler, question for other readers:

Where did Diana get all the money? The storyline implies the money is hers and not her husbands- but the story says they both grew up without much money and then lightly touches on the Husband making a lot of money from a proposal/project he pitched to his boss. Doesn’t match up with her controlling the money or the amount of money they had?!?! Anybody else?

My Lovely Wife- Samantha Downing

This book reminds me of the TV show Dexter mixed with a slightly less graphic Karin Slaughter novel, but still very uniquely styled and written in its own way.

The book follows a couple, living in suburbia, as they plot to kill someone… for fun. So fun fact- and also small annoyance- the book takes place in a central Florida, which is where I grew up. Although I loved the mention of the sun rail and other Central Florida details, some of the geographic places and timelines didn’t match up with real life. Like if you lived an hour from the Orlando airport, you couldn’t easily find a swampland in that general area good enough to hide a body… but I guess the author doesn’t mention how far away they drove to get to the swamp- but there just aren’t big enough swampland’s in the general central Florida area. Oh well. It’s fine.

The book uses the husband to narrate the story and paint a picture of their fairly normal life at home. The twists and turns build through flashbacks told in alternating chapters. I really liked the book and felt like the author nailed the story with just enough gore/murder without getting overly graphic. I also thought the storyline was unique although I did see the twist coming. Overall, I would definitely recommend My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing just based on the fact that I don’t think there’s anything else out there like it right now.

Pieces of Her & Pretty Girls

I feel like these 2 books are the Karin Slaughter dynamic duo. I really can’t decide which one I like more, but I’m leaning slightly towards Pretty Girls. 

Pretty Girls is great, it’s a classic Karin Slaughter novel that starts off with a bang almost immediately. What I loved about Pretty Girls was the character development and realistic characters throughout the story. Sure, a couple parts were a little far fetched- but it also actually felt like it could be totally real overall. I also liked the back stories of the sisters and felt like the way they helped each other and were brought back together was on point.

Here is the Blurb for Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter:

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenage sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
 
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it. 

 

Pieces of Her was great and I’m super excited that Netflix is making it into a movie or series. I loved the Mother/ Daughter dynamic, however I felt myself getting slightly annoyed with Andy’s character and her delay in reaction or ability to act quicker in certain situations. Here is the Blurb for Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter:

Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother Laura. She’s knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a Saturday afternoon trip to the mall explodes into violence and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one will ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Fleishman is in Trouble

So, I chose this book because it made a lot of the “Best Books of 2019” lists and received some significant hype. I just finished it and can’t decide how I really feel about it yet.

The book is broken down into 3 sections and I loved the shift that came at the 3rd section. Towards the middle of the book, I resorted to skimming a little bit because I felt some of the back story/past that the novel got into was boring and unnecessary. Overall, I liked the ending and I liked the perspective shift and the way it made you think… I found some of the switch between Toby and narrator confusing and think some of the fluff could’ve been removed in between chapters.

Here is the blurb description from Wikipedia:

Toby, a 41-year-old hepatologist, is undergoing a bitter divorce from his wife Rachel, a successful talent agent in New York. One day, she drops off their children, 11-year-old Hannah and 9-year-old Solly, at Toby’s house while he is still sleeping and takes off. She does not respond to texts or calls from him for the following weeks. The story, narrated by Toby’s college friend Libby, a former writer for a men’s magazine, follows their lives over this period and the events that led to the breakdown of their 14-year-marriage, as well as reflections of Libby’s own life.